We are all well aware of a term “writer’s block”, but is there one such as “artist’s block”? Hands down – yes. Snow white canvas, open paint, clean brushes, and a mind of zero ideas to accompany would be the first indication of artist’s block. By all means it is NOT a lack of imagination. Oppositely, I find that artist’s block can strike when there are too many ideas waiting for release at the same time. Artist’s block can occur at any stage of the project progress. However, there are a few tricks that could be used to cure this little obstacle.
First: walk away from your working space. The more you concentrate on the next step, more tense and frustrated you will be. Most likely it will cause you to make quick decisions that will take you away from your true inspiration which has led you to this particular art piece. You will be disappointed, not to say that it is a bad thing. I think any great accomplishment starts with mistakes and failure, however, we can avoid being spontaneous in this case. Walk away, go on with your day, sleep on it, go for a jog or meditate, etc. Do something that will make you happy, stress free, and energized. Do it now. Inspiration will come back to you faster than you know. Trust the process.
Second: if the walking away method didn’t work, another suggestion would be to start a completely different project. It will redirect your attention from current issues; moreover, fresh inspiration will boost your progress and will open new channels to creativity.
Third: If you have a limited time to finish your troubled art piece, you will have to seek for inspiration. Go visit museums and galleries; seclude yourself in the world of nature. Talking to a friend, watching your favorite movie or listening to your favorite musical artist can be a creative boost for inspiration. Reading a book or writing a random story will be very suitable techniques to get your imagination going. You can also watch videos of other artists, their painting technique and style might open your vision to new possibilities. Don’t stay still, recognize your inspirational sources and use them.
Fourth: if you’re completely stuck then start painting abstract objects. In order to find them you will have to create one wonderful little tool. Take a piece of paper, tear it off your note book, or use letter sized ticker printing paper, whatever is available to you. In the middle cut out a square sized no larger than 1×1 cm. Look through square and slowly start moving paper around the room or other space you are currently present. Small sized window will not allow you to observe a wide area; however, it will help you to find interesting shapes and lines. Start painting.
Fifth and last: if you don’t feel like bothering with the shape paper finder, then all that is left for you to do is to paint. Paint anything. Get a brush, dunk it in paint and make a first stroke on a canvas. Make another one. See what it looks like, continue painting, adjusting, designing, unfolding. This process is so much fun and not obligating; outcome does not need to be explained or have any meaning, make sense. You are free and in control. Decisions are wide open and can be changed at any time, at your own terms. Don’t stop, keep going, your mind will have no choice, but to get inspired for more.
Artist’s block is never fun, but it is curable. With time you will learn which method is more suitable for you or discover your very own method for rebooting creativity. Also, remember this old saying: “practice makes perfect”. The more you paint, the more you see, the more creative you are, and the stronger inspiration you have. Embrace all stages of this wonderful process of creation and have fun!